Welcome everybody to a new episode of our unboxing series. Today I want to introduce you to another interesting device - the Meta 1. It is an augmented reality headset bringing interactive 3D holograms to your real world. The Meta Developer Kit consists of glasses with two prisms which use a kind of Pepper's ghost effect to create an augmented reality view right in front of your sight. It can track your 360 degree head movements with the help of a 9-axis measurement unit, gyroscope, accelerometer and a compass. To detect things in front of you it has a depth and a color camera attached to the top. Detecting your hands the Meta makes it even possible to interact with the generated holograms via gesture controls. Two built in microphones gives you additional audio support. The device is connected to your computer by a HDMI and a USB connector. They get plugged into a control unit which powers the headset. With the control unit you can adjust the brightness of the glasses and also switch between 2D and 3D mode.
To get your Meta up and running you first need a developer account which you receive by registering your product with a personal product id. After you got access to the developer center you are able to download the SDK, which is only available for Windows right now. The SDK includes an installer for the necessary drivers and some test applications to configure your Meta. We had some troubles getting the Meta running on a Windows 7 test machine. The manufacturer recommends using a Windows 8.1 machine, but after reading some troubleshooting guides we finally got it to work.
Applications for the Meta are build on the Unity platform. To use the headset with Unity the manufacturer recommends to use it with release 4.6.1 and also as the 32bit version. The SDK integrates with Unity so you have additional settings for the headset. There is also a complete guide in the developer documentation for getting started with Unity and the Meta 1.
The augmented view of the Meta is quite amazing. It still don't covers the whole view of the user but it's much bigger as for example the small Google Glass. Connected to your computer it works as a normal display and you get a virtual version of your desktop which is really amazing. You could even expand your desktop to use it as an additional screen. So you can watch through it on your normal screen or work on the virtual second screen. The view has a resolution of 1280x720 which is enough for most applications. When you start an Unity application for the Meta you can set the screen in the Unity settings to the display you configured for your device. The app will automatically start on that screen. The augmented reality features inside the apps are really amazing. I want to share a video with you from TechCrunch where you can see the Meta in action.
I'm really looking forward to this kind of technology. Augmented reality offers a whole new way of user experience. If you have any cool ideas just let me know in the comments below. Stay tuned for new interesting devices in our unboxing series.
Hope you enjoyed the presentation of the Meta the same as I did.
See you soon, Phil